DUNU DK-3001 PRO - 2nd Generation 4 BA + Beryllium Dynamic Driver & Quick Switch Connector Cable
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tomscy2000

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Basics

The DUNU ( @DUNU-Topsound ) DK-3001 PRO is the successor to the DK-3001 and the latest model in DUNU's DK series of hybrid in-ears. It is a 5-driver hybrid, with a dual BA tweeter handling the highs and super-highs, two single BAs handling the mids and upper mids, and a 13 mm dynamic driver coated on both sides with Beryllium via a physical vapor deposition process. The 316L stainless steel shells are a revision and refinement of the DK series form factor, first introduced by the DK-3001 in 2016. The cable is made from high purity OCC copper terminated with DUNU's patented modular quick switch connectors, first introduced with the DK-4001. At introduction, it is selling for $469 on sites like Penon Audio and Shenzhen Audio.


Preface

Quietly, 2019 has been a banner year for DUNU. They've released 4 new models, all-based around Beryllium diaphragm dynamic drivers: the flagship DK-4001, entry-level Titan 6, the 17th anniversary limited edition model, and the DK-3001 PRO, an anticipated follow-up model that promises to fix all of the issues of the DK-3001 and more.


The original DK-3001, released in the latter part of 2016, was well-received for its sound and relatively small size, but had some comfort issues. The rectangular box-like structure seated at the concha part of the ear caused some peoples' ears to feel sore after longer listening sessions. While I personally didn't have as many comfort issues with the DK-3001, I did feel the nozzles were a bit short and the angulation of the output nozzle made for a bit of an awkward fit.

P1030616a.jpg

Fit issues essentially went away with the release of DUNU's flagship DK-4001. I received the 4001 from DUNU in late December 2018, and upon first wear the fit was immediately leaps and bounds better. The rounded inner edges of the 4001 no longer irritated the conchae, and the lengthened nozzles with revised insertion angles made both fit and isolation easier for my finicky ears. I wrote more about these changes in the DK-4001 thread, along with a pictorial comparison (https://www.head-fi.org/threads/dun...mpressions-thread.888107/page-9#post-14786073).

Back in December 2018, the folks at DUNU had intimated to me that they were planning on doing a 'Mark II' version of the DK-3001, but left me few details, other than the fact that it would use the same shape of shell as that of the DK-4001, but likely use stainless steel as a material rather than the difficult-to-work-with Zirconium alloy of the DK-4001.

Anyways, I really liked the DK-4001 (and still really like it), but I did notice there were quite a few people who felt a nearly $900 flagship IEM from DUNU was a bit too rich for their blood. Meanwhile, FiiO announced the FH7, similarly a 4 BA, 1 Beryllium dynamic hybrid, along with swappable treble filters --- for about half the price of the DK-4001. If you were a DUNU executive, chances are you were thinking that DK-3001 replacement couldn't come sooner.

It wasn't until May of 2019 when details surrounding the DK-3001 PRO were released, however, and details they were! (See here for my original musing on the DK-4001 thread: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/dun...pressions-thread.888107/page-12#post-14953778) The DK-3001 PRO would no longer be a 4-driver hybrid, but a 5-driver hybrid --- the same total driver count as the DK-4001. It would also use the same exact Beryllium dynamic driver as the DK-4001, and include a cable with the convenient quick-switch connectors, all priced at a full four hundred dollars cheaper!


If you've read up to this point, you must be thinking the following questions: (1) Why on earth is this model still called the DK-3001 if the driver count has been upped and it's longer 3 BAs and 1 dynamic? (2) Is this model going to completely cannibalize sales of the DK-4001, as it has the same driver count and the same Beryllium dynamic driver?

I did some digging and found some answers. Firstly, the '3001' naming scheme does not at all point to the driver setup, but to the pricing envelope targeted by DUNU. So the DK-3001 is intended as a model built to be priced under 3000 RMB. Indeed, the list price in China for the DK-3001 and DK-3001 PRO is 2999 RMB --- exactly the same price as the FiiO FH7 in China. Thus, the 2999 RMB price envelope is a major battleground for the domestic Chinese market. It makes sense, then, that the driver count on the DK-3001 PRO be upped to keep pace with the rest of the field.

Would the value of the DK-4001 be diminished in the eyes of many, then? Most likely, yes. The DK-4001, though, is still DUNU's reference model, and utilizes ACIS for bass control, a feature lacking on the DK-3001 PRO. Additionally, the driver types and configuration differ between the DK-3001 PRO and DK-4001. The DK-3001 PRO does not utilize its Beryllium driver all the way to the upper midrange but keeps it constrained to bass frequencies, opting instead for two balanced armatures in the mids and mid-highs (they appear to be either an ED or RAB/RAF type of BA, more likely the latter), and a single dual BA for the highs and super-highs (likely still an SWFK) located in the barrel of the output nozzle. Lastly, the cable on the DK-3001 PRO, dubbed the 'Lyre', is a post-treated OCC copper cable in a round Litz braid, over the complex 'Noble' cable of the DK-4001, which uses a mix of individual strands of OCC copper and silver, all wrapped in an OCC copper shield with a twisted pair braid.


Still, the DK-3001 PRO offers a lot for its money, and this compelling package of features is what will compel a lot of consumers to cough up the contents of their wallets. A part of me was concerned that DUNU might've built the DK-3001 PRO to spec and had just dug into the parts bin in a scramble to make a model with competitive features to the FiiO FH7. Reassuringly, almost all initial impressions coming from China and Japan were highly positive.


Unboxing

IMG_4197.jpg IMG_4198.jpg IMG_4199.jpg
IMG_4200.jpg

The box of the DK-3001 PRO is similar in style to the DK-4001, but is a smaller, more manageable size. The usual accessories are included. I like that DUNU hasn't overstuffed the accessories package with a million different tips this time around. Rather than giving users an overabundance of choice, they're being more judicious and figuring out which items are essential and which ones might enhance the user experience.

IMG_4201.jpg IMG_4202.jpg

The 316L stainless steel housings are anodized in a matte black coating that feels nicer than the ones of the original DK-3001. It is very similar in size to the DK-4001, but is ever so slightly larger because of minimum thickness requirements for CNC'ed stainless steel as compared to Zirconium alloy. Originally, I thought the metallic faceplate in the middle was a polished silver, but in reality it has a brushed texture and darker in color than pure silver.

Comfort-wise, the DK-3001 PRO is very comfortable. Although it is the slightest bit larger than its big brother the DK-4001, it is equally easy to fit in the ear, and is actually less depth-sensitive when it comes to achieving an ideal seal and sound. The DK-4001, perhaps because of the ACIS system, is more prone to driver flex and requires a very specific depth of insertion to achieve an ideal sound signature. The requirements are loosened with the DK-3001 PRO.

IMG_4204.jpg IMG_4205.jpg IMG_4207.jpg

The quick switch connectors on the 'Lyre' cable are identical to the ones found on the DK-4001. The 'Lyre' is actually softer than the 'Noble' cable of the DK-4001 and uses a slick, smooth sheath compared to a matte sheath texture. I find the 'Lyre' cable tangles more than the 'Noble' cable because it's a softer and more pliable.

IMG_4210.jpg IMG_4211.jpg

Although the carrying case of the DK-3001 PRO is made from leatherette material and not as nice to the touch as the lambskin leather case of the DK-4001, the elastic inner pocket is a very welcome addition. By comparison, the DK-4001's case doesn't have such a pocket, and carry extra connectors or tips is a pain. Overall, if you can live with the green color, this case is actually excellent in functionality.

IMG_4212.jpg

Oddly enough, while they sound fine, the included SpinFit CP350 tips have short stems and don't even fit over half the length of the long nozzles of the DK-3001 PRO. To compensate, DUNU included soft silicone spacers but one has to wonder why they didn't go with the longer-stemmed CP145 tips included with the DK-4001. In the end, I settled on silicone tips from Japanese maker Acoustic Effect. They feel great and have a perfect length stem. They veer slightly on brightening up the signature of the DK-3001 PRO by sharpening up some treble resonances, but I find the effect acceptable. I also like the way AZLA SednaEarfit Light tips fit, but because I only have one pair of them, they're reserved for the DK-4001 (the SpinFit CP145 tips, while I feel they convey the best sound from the 4001, slip off too easily inside my small, tight ear canals).​

Impressions

Unfortunately, I just don't have the time or energy to do full-on reviews these days, so these are my brief impressions, done after about 6 days with the DK-3001 PRO.

The DK-3001 PRO is a refreshing listen. Vocals are prominent, centered, and large. They're probably the best part of the presentation of the DK-3001 PRO, and the midrange makes it a treat to listen to. In fact, although I only had a brief listen of the FiiO FH7, I found the smaller midrange presentation of the FH7 made the DK-3001 PRO easier to listen to, despite the superior resolution of the FH7. The midrange is also a step-up in comparison to the DK-3001. They are fuller in the lower midrange, with a similar level of upper midrange. There are limitations to the resolution of the DK-3001 PRO's midrange, however. Despite being less forward and slightly blunted in the upper midrange, the DK-4001 resolves significantly better, allowing the listener to hear deeper into the track. As mentioned before, the FiiO FH7 is also a better resolver albeit with a smaller spatial presentation.

Treble complements the 3001 PRO's midrange well. It sits behind the midrange, and sounds relatively diffuse, making for a relaxed by open listening experience. It is not a technical monster, though, and despite an open soundstage, imaging is a bit indistinct. It's not always easy to isolate instruments well, and timbre suffers a bit as well, especially under direct comparison with the DK-4001. Still, the overall presentation, which hinges around the midrange jiving well with the treble, is still great, and the overall listening experience doesn't suffer --- it'd merely be a question of preference. So for example, although I find the FH7 to be the DK-3001's superior in the imaging department, there's something metallic about the FH7's timbre note that distracts me from enjoying the music. I encountered a similar feel when comparing the AKG N5005 to the DK-4001.

Bass is present and controlled, albeit with more of an emphasis on mid-bass. Bass extension and impulse control are much better on the ACIS-enabled DK-4001. However, when compared to its predecessor the LCP-diaphragmed DK-3001, the DK-3001 PRO provides superior bass resolution and layering via its Beryllium driver. I must say, I've been spoiled by ACIS on the DK-4001; my DK-3001 PRO listening experience is always punctuated with thoughts about how much better the DK-4001 renders bass. In any other world, however, the DK-3001 PRO's bass would be top notch.

Overall, after about a week of listening, I've been pleasantly surprised by the DK-3001 PRO. It's a supremely comfortable in-ear with an even more approachable sound signature. People who liked the sound signature of the original DK-3001 but were worried about its comfort will be prime targets for the DK-3001 PRO. It has its shortcomings, and I do prefer the higher-end DK-4001, but I suspect the DK-3001 PRO will have a lot of very happy users, even without user-selectable tuning choices. I keep forgetting how well-rounded the accessories are, too. This has always been one of DUNU's strengths, and by including the quick-switch connector cable, they are giving people a lot of value.
 
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I have to say, to me the cable connectors are a great idea...
 
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@tomscy2000 Great information. Thanks a lot! I will be be listening to these and the FH7's before I make any decisions. I may even listen to the DK-4001, but I don't think I'm ready to invest so much in an IEM for now. The DK-3001 Pro and FH7 appear to be fine examples of modern IEM design which should cater for most listeners needs. Congrats to DUNU. Looks like a great product.
 
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Thanks for the info. If I have the original 3001's and they fit snug as a glove, is there any noticeable change in SQ due to the additional drivers and tuning?
 
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I had dk3001 and now I have dk3001. newer version plays even better. I have it for only 2 days and it has already become my favorite iem. with dx220 and zx300 it plays fabulously. after dk3001, dk3001 pro I really have a taste for dk4001
 
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Thanks for this feedback.
People who liked the sound signature of the original DK-3001 but were worried about its comfort will be prime targets for the DK-3001 PRO.
That's just what I wanted to read :wink:
 
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Basics

Impressions

Unfortunately, I just don't have the time or energy to do full-on reviews these days, so these are my brief impressions, done after about 6 days with the DK-3001 PRO.

The DK-3001 PRO is a refreshing listen. Vocals are prominent, centered, and large. They're probably the best part of the presentation of the DK-3001 PRO, and the midrange makes it a treat to listen to. In fact, although I only had a brief listen of the FiiO FH7, I found the smaller midrange presentation of the FH7 made the DK-3001 PRO easier to listen to, despite the superior resolution of the FH7. The midrange is also a step-up in comparison to the DK-3001. They are fuller in the lower midrange, with a similar level of upper midrange. There are limitations to the resolution of the DK-3001 PRO's midrange, however. Despite being less forward and slightly blunted in the upper midrange, the DK-4001 resolves significantly better, allowing the listener to hear deeper into the track. As mentioned before, the FiiO FH7 is also a better resolver albeit with a smaller spatial presentation.

Treble complements the 3001 PRO's midrange well. It sits behind the midrange, and sounds relatively diffuse, making for a relaxed by open listening experience. It is not a technical monster, though, and despite an open soundstage, imaging is a bit indistinct. It's not always easy to isolate instruments well, and timbre suffers a bit as well, especially under direct comparison with the DK-4001. Still, the overall presentation, which hinges around the midrange jiving well with the treble, is still great, and the overall listening experience doesn't suffer --- it'd merely be a question of preference. So for example, although I find the FH7 to be the DK-3001's superior in the imaging department, there's something metallic about the FH7's timbre note that distracts me from enjoying the music. I encountered a similar feel when comparing the AKG N5005 to the DK-4001.

Bass is present and controlled, albeit with more of an emphasis on mid-bass. Bass extension and impulse control are much better on the ACIS-enabled DK-4001. However, when compared to its predecessor the LCP-diaphragmed DK-3001, the DK-3001 PRO provides superior bass resolution and layering via its Beryllium driver. I must say, I've been spoiled by ACIS on the DK-4001; my DK-3001 PRO listening experience is always punctuated with thoughts about how much better the DK-4001 renders bass. In any other world, however, the DK-3001 PRO's bass would be top notch.

Overall, after about a week of listening, I've been pleasantly surprised by the DK-3001 PRO. It's a supremely comfortable in-ear with an even more approachable sound signature. People who liked the sound signature of the original DK-3001 but were worried about its comfort will be prime targets for the DK-3001 PRO. It has its shortcomings, and I do prefer the higher-end DK-4001, but I suspect the DK-3001 PRO will have a lot of very happy users, even without user-selectable tuning choices. I keep forgetting how well-rounded the accessories are, too. This has always been one of DUNU's strengths, and by including the quick-switch connector cable, they are giving people a lot of value.

I have Falcon C a little over a year ago. Would this DK3001 Pro be a good update? Or does the 3001 preach a very different sound signature?

Regards,
Juan Luis.
 
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I have Falcon C a little over a year ago. Would this DK3001 Pro be a good update? Or does the 3001 preach a very different sound signature?
I have not heard the Falcon C for nearly two years so I can't reliably tell you but from memory and from the FR, I think the 3001 PRO has a fairly different sound signature. The Falcon seemed brighter and thinner from memory. @cleg might be able to give you a better answer.

Thanks for the info. If I have the original 3001's and they fit snug as a glove, is there any noticeable change in SQ due to the additional drivers and tuning?
The original DK-3001 and DK-3001 PRO sound distinct from one another. Beyond differences in the material of the dynamic driver, the BA driver layout is quite different. The PRO sounds similar only because its frequency response is inspired by that of the original 3001.

There is more bass quantity with the DK-3001 PRO, but it is better textured and layered. Bass extension is similar. Unless you're very specific about the sheer quantity of bass you want to hear, the original DK-3001 possesses no real advantage over the PRO in bass reproduction. Midrange is fuller in body, while treble sparkle is thinner, but more delicate sounding. There is less harshness in the uppermost mid-range and lowermost treble. Overall, the PRO leans warmer than the original. Some might find the edginess of the original has been taken down a notch and that clarity might take a minor hit, but the entire milieu --- the soundstage, vocal image --- is improved and makes it an obvious upgrade.

I had dk3001 and now I have dk3001. newer version plays even better. I have it for only 2 days and it has already become my favorite iem. with dx220 and zx300 it plays fabulously. after dk3001, dk3001 pro I really have a taste for dk4001
Glad you really like the PRO, but keep in mind that the 4001 is quite different in character from both the original 3001 and the 3001 PRO, so if you're expecting a further refinement of the PRO's signature, that's not what you'll find with the 4001. Because of the added mechanical load of ACIS on the dynamic driver, the 4001 is also a little more difficult to drive properly. However, the 4001 is very obviously superior when it comes to bass control/layering/extension, midrange detail, imaging, and timbral realism.

Thanks for this feedback. That's just what I wanted to read :wink:
The improvement in comfort is quite a revelation. Even more dramatically, the improvement in sound isolation makes everything that much easier to listen to.
 
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The Falcon seemed brighter and thinner from memory. @cleg might be able to give you a better answer.
well, to be honest, I can't add much to your words, it's right to the point. In general, Falcon-C sounds a bit "dryer" for me, less organic, more monitoring. Less weight on mids (I'd said that 3001 Pro really great here) and with brighter treble
so, 3001 Pro is an upgrade indeed, but it's not "same but better", as presentation differs
 
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Glad you really like the PRO, but keep in mind that the 4001 is quite different in character from both the original 3001 and the 3001 PRO, so if you're expecting a further refinement of the PRO's signature, that's not what you'll find with the 4001. Because of the added mechanical load of ACIS on the dynamic driver, the 4001 is also a little more difficult to drive properly. However, the 4001 is very obviously superior when it comes to bass control/layering/extension, midrange detail, imaging, and timbral realism.
I know it's a different signature, but after the descriptions I think they complement each other perfectly. now I use it04 and dk3001 Pro and I have the impression that dunu are at a higher level
 
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well, to be honest, I can't add much to your words, it's right to the point. In general, Falcon-C sounds a bit "dryer" for me, less organic, more monitoring. Less weight on mids (I'd said that 3001 Pro really great here) and with brighter treble
so, 3001 Pro is an upgrade indeed, but it's not "same but better", as presentation differs
I really like bass quality in the Falcon C. Can I expect a similar presentation with the 3001 Pro, or is this more delicate (less impact) in that section?

Thanks.
Juan Luis.
 
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I really like bass quality in the Falcon C. Can I expect a similar presentation with the 3001 Pro, or is this more delicate (less impact) in that section?
I'm comparing by memory, so please take that with a grain of salt, but in terms of quantity, they are about the same, but Falcon-C is a bit dryer, while 3001 Pro is more organic. in terms of impact, Falcon is a bit tighter, but it's not always natural, while DK-3001 Pro is closer to "as is" in record
 

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